My journey has given me 7 angels, Jessica, Johnathon, Ruby & Phillip and my 3 silent babies.
I married Harry in 2005 the year when we lost our first baby, our son Johnathon at 17 weeks and 4 days. After Johnathon I vowed I would never carry another child. As we had kept it a secret due to my previous losses and we told friends and family we were just a few weeks.
Why?, possibly fear, anxiety and fuss as we were getting married and yes as soon as they knew we would have to change everything. That look of disappointment as not now Luanne, you won’t cope losing another. Wasn’t just another, I never had the guts to say “this baby does not replace any of my others”.
Everyone would change and I would have don’t do this and don’t do that. I hear people say that family and friends congratulated them on their rainbows. I had the awful experience of mine dreading those words. But, I also knew how hard it was for them silently.
But, it never stopped me hating them more and more as my grief became buried. I didn’t even tell Harry about being an angel mum to 4 before he met me; it was my younger brother that told him and not to mention it again. Even when we discussed it I remember feeling ashamed, like a failure. Mostly due to a volatile relationship and the taboo that it carried with it.
I was not stranger to a death through pregnancy and infancy loss, my brother – Phillip had died at 3 months of a cot death in 1972 and had she had endured an ectopic pregnancy when I was a little girl. My birth mother shared this with us and grieved quietly something I learnt to understand over the last year in setting up Angel Parents.
My reason for sharing came after I learnt I was not alone on this excruciating journey, so I’ll try and explain mine and Harry’s journey and why it is so important that we help others who walk the same path. 15th June 2005 he was declared “Gone” – our son Johnathon Joseph Rimmer. I decided that I would never talk about it again. I had 6 counselling sessions and returned back to work 3 months later. But, in 2011 I changed my mind – health concerns had started to make me think again.
We had to undergo fertility treatment and when we failed I became obsessed with becoming pregnant. I made Harry’s life a misery and I think most couples who undergo fertility treatment will at some point feel at breaking point.
When you start together you are committed to getting through this together, even today I struggle to understand how our lives changed after the twins. I never expected to change to become the person I did. Which was regimental, confused and very argumentative, nothing was going to prevent me from having a baby, a family.
We eventually choose to use a donor, but I wanted to be able to tell our baby why and we agreed together that we would interview and meet with our donor. The day I found out my little munchkins were growing inside me all the fear, anger, pain went away as I thanked god for giving me back a purpose, a reason for living.
Nothing else mattered in the world and I began to work more at home and follow my plan. But, on the 5th March, 2012 at 9.20pm my world fell apart I miscarried at home. We were 11 weeks and 3 days pregnant and the proud parents of twins. Now we are the proud parents of angels, our miracle babies.
We named our babies Ruby and Phillip and we held a funeral for them at our local church. Our priest was the only one I would allow to take our babies from our home, he had been so understanding and patient with me. He never questioned anything I asked for.
When writing my journey again, I was unsure of how I write about the most important part of my life, AGAIN! How they left me and our final goodbye. But, each time I crumble like we all do when we think about that day. 3 years on and I suffer from complicated grief and depression, labelled as PTSD; which I feel has contributed from a taboo over pregnancy and infant loss and how others opinions affect us.
Unfortunately, I suffered a chronic nervous breakdown, 9th July 2012. So many do and suffer silently, but I became suicidal and was sectioned twice. Not only had I lost my babies and husband but, now my freedom.
Anger fuelled me inside and I began to answer questions like a tick list. I could not say exactly how I felt as I was scared it was wrong. Its took 3 years for me to talk openly since leaving hospital about how I feel and hopefully start to receive the help I need.
By starting up Angel Parents I have learnt so many people are suffering the same, so many feel that they need to do something to keep their babies memories alive. Learning to grieve and how to fit back into a society where child loss is the hardest journey to share due to so many being affected.
Harry and myself have decided that we no longer share the same dreams and hopes we once did. I am learning to accept that this yearning for a child is natural, that seeing so many rainbows are a joy as well as heartbreaking moments of realisation.
We had decided on Embryo Adoption and after a tough 2015 had believed that we would try again in 2016. But, life changes within a second and sometimes couples do part for good.
Today, me and Harry learn to support each other, in our own way. We have memorials for our children and we have talks about how we both feel, but as friends.
This life changing experience of losing your children takes not only your heart, but your soul. I feel that together we can help each other through forums, discussions, sharing and fundraising to create awareness.
On my journey with Angel Parents I have become part of a community that supports so many and one I hope we all learn to #breakthesilence as I am and will always be a mum of 7.